Wednesday, 8th July 2009 – Arkansas to Jackson MS via Memphis TN. About 200 miles.
We left our hotel around 10am and headed across the Mississippi into Memphis, Tennessee, population 670,000. Something I found interesting about America is that it has towns and cities of every size, from 100 people to 20 million people and so much in between, whereas Australia doesn’t really have any towns between 400,000 people and 1.2 million, and nothing over 5 million. Not that I can think of anyway. I just thought that was interesting. Moving on. Hello Tennessee!
We arrived at the visitors centre and the lady behind the desk said “You gahtta go suee the Peabaahdy Ducks. They’re aaahn in twenny-faaaahv minutes.” Lady, if you’re going to talk to me in that gorgeous southern accent, I’m going to do whatever you say. So we covered ourselves in sun cream (it was hot already at 10:45am), left our car at the visitor’s centre and set out on foot in search of these Peabody Ducks. I can’t say it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, (or hardly saw – the place was packed by the time we got there!) but apparently it’s the thing to do in Memphis so I’m glad we went. The photos on the link are probably better but here’s what we were looking at:
We left the little duckies and headed towards Sun Studio. I was feeling pretty uneasy by this stage as there were no other people walking down the streets. Seriously – it felt like a ghost town. This was one of the main streets to Sun Studio. Where is everyone???
We arrived and I was happy to get into the air con and out of the heat.
We paid for our Sun Studio tour and headed upstairs with our tour guide, Eldorado. It was a really worthwhile tour to do and I can highly recommend it. He told us about the history of the place and then we headed back downstairs to the actual studio – the studio where all the big names of Rock ‘n Roll cut their first records. As we were standing in the studio, Eldorado (I couldn’t take him very seriously) would play music that was actually recorded there, including the Million Dollar Quartet.
Here’s what we were listening to. Very cool.
And some more groovy photos taken by Hubs. (Yes. I just said groovy.)
This is the office where all the bookings for the studio would have been made.
Even though the tour was pretty cool, I was pretty unimpressed by the people who ran the place – a bunch of young, obnoxious musos with no customer service (Hubs overheard one of them saying that he hated Aussie tourist. You’re in the tourism industry. Perhaps a change of career might be in order?) and they stupidly discussed, quite loudly, a shooting that occurred just around the corner from them on the 4th of July. Seriously? Is that meant to make me like Memphis more?? Cos you’re really not selling it to me love.
We left and walked to Beale st to find somewhere to have lunch. Again, the streets were pretty deserted, but excitingly enough, we came across the nightclub where the shooting had taken place. Oh joy!
We had some very delicious and HUGE ribs – we shared this plate – and enjoyed excellent atmosphere and service at the Superior Hotel.
We then just strolled back to the car along the river
We drove past Graceland but didn’t have any great desire to stop in so we just drove the 200 miles to Jackson, Mississippi. I was going to go into a whole spiel about how awful that evening was, but it’s already a long post so I’ll leave it at that. Let’s just say we stayed at a Motel 6 that was rubbish, we were warned that we were near a “dodgy part of town”, we got lost looking for some dinner and I felt like we were on the “wrong side of the tracks”, had a rubbish fast-food dinner, but thankfully we found some booze to calm the nerves. It was also here that I started noticing a bit of anxiety creeping in, with what felt like my heart skipping a beat whenver I was nervous. We couldn’t leave soon enough…